Soil extractors shrink grazing land in Shopian, authorities in slumber

Shopian: The illegal soil extraction going on from last two months has largely gone unchecked by the authorities in South Kashmir’s Shopian district with people alleging the officials of ‘abetting’ the destruction.

Residents of Darbagh, Watchi, Aglar, Zainapora and other areas here alleged that some elements in league with officials of the Revenue and Geology and Mining Departments are violating the norms by extracting the soil from grazing land in the area.

They said that no action has been taken against such elements so far.

“They extract the soil from the grazing land without any fear of the revenue officials. Scores of tractors and JCBs can be seen laden with soil from the Karewa and ferrying it to different places. We raised the issue with the concerned department many times, but they showed least interest in initiating any action against the violators,” the residents said.

The soil mafia, according to reports, is using men and machinery round the clock to extract the soil in the area.

 “The soil lifted from grazing lands at different places is being used to fill the Abi-Awal (paddy) land in other areas in violation of various Acts. The transformation of soil also creates environmental hazard,” the locals said, accusing the Revenue, Geology and Mining officials of watching the act as ‘mute spectators’.

The locals also said that the huge rush of tractors in the area has caused potholes on the roads, resulting in dusty roads everywhere.

Naib Tehsildar Zainapora, Mohammad Ashraf, said, “We have already sent squads a few days ago and booked those involved in the extraction. We will depute a team again tomorrow to look into the matter,” he said.

Admitting that the department Geology and Mining department has failed to curb such menace, Field Supervisor of the department from Zainapora said they visited the area several times but the extractors fled from the spot.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Shopian, Parvaiz Sajad told ‘Kashmir Vision’ that he will seek report from the Sub District Magistrate Zainapora in this regard.

He assured that any extraction if found will be stopped and appropriate action will be taken against the violators.

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